Fossil Fuels And Nuclear Power The World – OpEd


Fossil fuels and nuclear energy to electricity power approximately 90% of global energy consumption according to the British Petroleum Statistical Review of World Energy 2020. Energy consumption behemoths China and Japan have left behind heavily subsidized, chaotically intermittent wind turbine and solar panel farms to “build hundreds of New-Age Coal-Fired Plants.” Coal-fired power plants, which are reliable, energy-dense, abundant, scalable and affordable are being built at such a rapid clip that any global, western environmental gains are being negated over the unreliability of renewables. According to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) World Energy Outlook 2019

“While the importance of transitioning to a carbon-neutral world is recognized, society is still heavily dependent on fossil fuels. Economic growth and a rising global population means that renewable energy sources (primarily the wind and sun) can’t keep up with worldwide energy demand.”

Reliable energy and electricity are a top national security concern the same way a nuclear arsenal is for first, second, and third world nations. China and Japan are simply keeping up with each other economically, militarily, and diplomatically by building hundreds of coal-fired power plants. Coal delivers continuous electricity 24/7/365 for Asia and the world. Why wouldn’t both countries build coal-fired plants, and use them? When global environmentalist, Bjorn Lomberg says: there are “Global priorities bigger than climate change.” Mr. Lomberg is correct.

Both Asian powerhouses, and the billions without electricity are going to use anything possible (coal, natural gas, oil, petroleum, nuclear, future technologies) to acquire energy and electricity. Does any rational, non-ideological person believe Asia led by China and India are going to de-carbonize by de-industrializing? Fossil fuels will also rule in Africa, which is expected to add “more than a half a billion people (to its) urban population by 2040.”

In context, China didn’t add this many people during its population boom between 1990-2010. Industrial and residential electrification using fossil fuels and nuclear are what billions in Africa and Asia need. For renewables to grow as a major source of energy to electricity:

“Remove (taxpayer) subsidies, mandates and other forms of energy favoritism by letting technologies advance or fail in markets based upon their own true merit or lack thereof.”

Otherwise, billions will suffer from the get-off-fossil-fuels-and-nuclear movement, and the “consequences of various policy regimes denying consumers choices to best satisfy their energy usage requirement.” Besides trying to ban fossil fuels and nuclear the De-carbonization movement is killing electrical generation for non-advanced countries, and continents. The costs are over $10 trillion annually. 

Advanced countries such as China, India, Japan, and the U.S. use fossil fuels, because over 6,000 everyday products come from the derivatives of petroleum. Fossil fuels are also known energy-dense quantities. Energy density is defined as: 

“The energy stored per pound (and) is the critical metric for vehicles and, especially, aircraft, cruise ships and merchant ships. The maximum potential energy contained in oil molecules is about 1,500% greater, pound for pound, than the maximum in lithium chemistry. That’s why (all) aircraft, cruise ships and merchant ships, and rockets are powered by hydrocarbons.”

Fossil fuels, and nuclear generated electricity are known physical quantities. Their favorable thermodynamic properties are the reasons why growing, and advanced countries will continue choosing oil, petroleum, natural gas, coal, and nuclear. Human wishes and desire-fulfillment economically, and historically began when fossil fuels, and nuclear energy were incorporated into everyday life. 

Nuclear energy was after the Second World War; and is the only zero-carbon energy to electrical generation source. Both working together give certainty whereas “renewables pose a real threat to conventional sources of electricity.”

Since 1990 the global total primary energy supply has mainly been derived from fossil fuels. The approximately 7.7 billion living at this time want and need reliable, consistent sources of energy and electricity that fossil fuels provide – even more so – than nuclear generated energy to electricity.

If fossil fuels power and electrify the world, then the resurgence since the mid-2000’s for American exploration and production (E&P) gains has changed the world in every conceivable way related to energy and electricity. The United States is expected sometime in the near future to become a “net exporter of energy.” An astonishing development – when you consider – during the President George W. Bush administration the U.S. imported most of its oil and natural gas for domestic use.

China, India, Africa, most of Central America, the Middle East, and large parts of Central Asia are struggling with little to no electricity. How can any western-led environmentalist or environmental organization believe all the above-mentioned nations, and continents won’t follow the U.S. model for fossil fuel use?  

Especially China, India, and Africa whose populations are growing the fastest – plan for, allow, and legislate their economies, and national security reach new heights by hydraulic fracturing (fracking), or other methods of E&P for fossil fuels? The 2019 United States Energy Information Administration’s International Energy Outlook factually reveals China, India, and Africa are using more fossil fuels and nuclear generated electricity to power their energy hungry economies than previously thought possible. 

If a country, or continent does not have abundant, reliable, scalable, affordable, and flexible energy and electricity then you do not have an economy, or improved living standards. This is why hydrocarbons and nuclear are the moral answers for human longevity and prosperity decades ahead.

Todd Royal

Todd Royal, M.P.P. is the Managing Partner for Energy development, Oil & Gas, and Renewables for Ascendance Strategies, a global threat assessment and political consulting firm that is based in Los Angeles, California

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